The Complete Argo/Mercury Art Farmer/Benny Golson/Jazztet Sessions


The Ornette Coleman Quartet made its New York debut at the Five Spot in November 1959, heralded a new era in jazz and made history. The Jazztet made its debut on the same bill, hit the highest mainstream standards and … well, now there’s this Mosaic box set to help restore their legacy.

The group was helmed by two in-demand soloists: former Jazz Messenger Benny Golson on saxophone and, on trumpet and flugelhorn, ex-Gerry Mulligan associate Art Farmer. Farmer could be counted on for the hot tune here and there. Golson churned them out: "Blues March," "Killer Joe" and "I Remember Clifford" alone put him in the jazz composing hall of fame. And the co-leaders rounded out the sextets with the likes of trombonists Curtis Fuller and Grachan Moncur III, and pianists McCoy Tyner, Tommy Flanagan and Cedar Walton. (The frontline of sax, trumpet-flugelhorn and trombone was key to the group sound.)

Blame their demise after a few years on that tone-deaf entity know as the business. Their musical excellence is proven through seven CDs here, including sessions for six Jazztet recordings, separate Golson and Farmer combo dates from the same time period, and a Farmer-led big band with Oliver Nelson arrangements. Listen to the sass of the Jazztet’s "It Ain’t Necessarily So," or the elegance of their "Django" (from a date with arranger John Lewis), or to Fuller proving himself a slide ruler on "It’s All Right with Me." Not bad for the also-rans.

W. Kim Heron is the managing editor of Metro Times. E-mail

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.